The Stranger In A Helmet

photo-1494365024268-64e9ba68f321.jpg

To the stranger in a helmet,
The one I can’t forget
Not for the romantic reasons, no.
If that were the case, I’d start with dear.
You’re anything but my hero.
You’re my worst fears come true.

I drive by thay street everyday,
I’m left no choice, I live two streets down.
And every time I see that corner,
The one you stood on, your bike parked, your gaze wandering,
I look around.
I try to spot every man holding a helmet, perched on a bike.
I wonder if it’s you.
If he remembers me.
If he’d say it again in broad daylight.
Does he know?
Does he know what he did?
Does he know why he shouldn’t have?
Does he know I still hear his voice in the back of my head and feel a chill run down my spine?
“Madam. Madam.” Every time?
Does he know that he hid in the dark, his face covered because his instinct told him it was wrong?
Does he know I’m judging him when it maybe wasn’t him at all?
Because I do.
Every man I see looks guilty.
Even the innocent.
That’s what you’ve done.
“Madam. Madam..” like a helpless man. I shouldn’t have turned.
Should’ve known you’re helping yourself.
But I was taught and raised to be nice to the lost.
Yet, as you stood,
Your hands on your pants, your mouth asking for mine,
I was glad it was me and my little sister had walked a few feet.
Imagine a table turned.
For being taught kindness,
Punished.
Humiliated.
Scared.
She won’t judge that innocent man,
She’d fear.
Because of you.

How difficult life would be.
As long as she lives, she’ll never trust.
Afraid of eyes, even the ones filled with love.
Yet, how easy it will be,
For you’ll forever live in peace.
Hidden behind a helmet
At 7pm, in the middle of the city
On a lonely street.
Just your voice echoing, “Suck me please.”

“I’m Not A Girl Anymore..”

Slowly, with life experiences and baby steps, from high school to university to a working environment and the real world, watching our friends grow into adults, observing our changing needs and desires, understanding our lives changing and learning the ability to accept it – this is how a girl, any girl, must realize that she is no longer a girl. That she is indeed a woman.

But this world doesn’t work like that anymore. In this world, women walk around scared and insecure because they have been pushed to grow up. Because our societies have started perceiving us as women before we could even understand the complex simplicity of that word.

The 23-year-old intern in Delhi, gang raped by a boy who shouldn’t have known that much and men who should have known better.  The number of people who pointed their fingers at her for getting in that bus in the first place. Here’s an idea. Maybe, she didn’t know that much yet. Maybe she was still that little girl who believed that the world was filled with superheroes. That every man was a brother, a father, a best friend. That when they look at her, they would see the child that they can befriend, not the body that they can use.

The 24-year-old techie in Chennai, gang raped. People came up with a million reasons. She should’ve known better than to walk alone in the middle of the night. “She should’ve known better.” Ever think that maybe she needed more time to know better? That maybe, just maybe, she didn’t see what the society saw? But we don’t care. She’s 24 ! She’s a woman who should’ve known better !

That’s the thing. Being a certain age isn’t what makes us women. We don’t turn 21 and suddenly say “OHMYGOD ! I’M A WOMAN !” No. We need time, patience, life lessons and lots of experience before we become women.

And no matter what, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING EVER JUSTIFIES A MAN TOUCHING A GIRL / WOMAN WITHOUT HER PERMISSION.

I’m still a girl. I’m insecure. I walk in fear of who to trust and who to take three steps away from. I accuse every man who looks my way of wrong thoughts. Just because..

I had to endure a doctor move his hand that inch too close, the man on the street wink and make kissing faces, the guy I’ve known since I was two-years-old ask me if I wanted to “go grab a drink after hours” and the society that tells me that all of the above is my fault. Don’t look. Don’t smile. Don’t wear what you want. Don’t do what you feel like doing. And never ever let a man too close, doesn’t matter who he is.

I honestly don’t know if it’s the society’s fault or the men’s. But I do know that something has to change. Drill it into everyone’s brains if we have to but we need to make them understand that while you’re looking at someone you’d like to use, she’s looking at someone she believes will protect her from someone like you..